In an earlier article I wrote about the court case of Ben Haim (& others) -v- Iran (& others) where the successful Claimants (Plaintiffs) were attempting to attach the Iranian, Syrian and (just for good measure) North Korean country code domain names (.IR, .SY and .KP) and wanted ICANN to hand them over, and took it to court to force it.
A DC court rebuffed the attempt stating that while top-level domains might be property (like any other domain name) they weren’t the sort of property that could be garnished.
Well, as I write this in the aftermath of the Sony hack, and what seem to be countermeasures taking North Korean off the Internet entirely, details are slowly emerging that (not entirely unexpectedly, given their historic persistence) the Claimants, or at least one of them, has launched an appeal.
What is mildly interesting is that it’s just one of the Claimants (lead Plaintiff Seth Ben Haim, and just one of the Defendants (Iran). All the Court filing says is, in essence “I appeal”.
You don’t have to be legally qualified to work out that this is a placeholder, designed to ‘stop the clock’. It also allows the Plaintiffs a breathing space so they can work out whether Washington, DC is the best forum to haul ICANN into court.
Even if, as Judge Landreth clearly foreshadows, (cc)TLDs are property, if .COM names can’t be attached in DC, then the Claimant’s may still have some difficulty with attaching TLDs (which after all, are just dotless domain names).
It always puzzled me anyway that this lawsuit was in DC. After all, ICANN is a California corporation, and the California district courts saw the first lawsuit over TLDs back in November of 1999.
Still, no doubt the Federal Appeal Court in DC is as good a place as any.